what is really going on

During my trek down the road of infertility, I have certainly learned that the presence of God is a very real aspect of this journey. He has been my strength, my comfort, my joy and my peace through it all.

I have also realized another very real presence in my life during this journey.

And that is the presence of Satan.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12

While God’s plan, from the start, was a marvelous plan that involved a barren womb and an open heart to the miracle of adoption, Satan has sought to steal, kill and destroy the glory God has received through my infertility from day one.

If you find yourself today still sorting through the muck of infertility (or any other trial in your life), please hear me on this:

Your battle is more than a deep pitted desire in the depths of your heart to see two pink lines on the pregnancy test.

If you are a child of God, the battle you find yourself in is between a God who loves you and has a marvelous plan for your life (in spite the circumstances you find yourself in today) and the Evil One of this world who wants to see infertility destroy you so that your God will seem like a fool.

I began to look at my own infertility in a completely different light when I realized that what Satan meant to use to destroy me, God had planned to use the same exact circumstances in my life to perform a miracle!

It’s all about perspective. God’s perspective.

Once I realized that my pain was an opportunity to allow God’s glory to shine through me, it totally changed my perspective on infertility.

Instead of my inability to conceive being on the forefront of my mind, my focus was shifted to waiting in great expectation for the way God was going to take these miserable circumstances and bring glory to His wonderful name.

Satan hated this. Absolutely hated it.

Satan wanted my focus to be on thoughts such as, “Why do I have to go through this? Why is it taking so long? Friend after friend, family member after family member have gotten pregnant, but here I am, still waiting!”

Satan knew if he could keep my focus on these things, he would successfully tear down my hope in the Lord and destroy my trust in God’s perfect plan for my life that actually did include infertility.

Don’t think for a minute that I sailed through those horrible days with a genuine smile on my face and a totally happy, joyful heart! Just go back and read the posts I wrote towards the end of 2008 and the beginning of 2009. You will find posts where I was extremely angry that I was going through all that. You will find posts where I felt like all hope was lost.

But you will also find posts where God picked me up out of all the muck and spoke straight to my heart so that I would know there was a greater battle going on that went beyond my desire to be pregnant.

Satan wants to destroy you as you walk this road! Don’t let him! He wants your focus to stay on the depths of your despair.

Don’t allow it!

Choose this day to rise above it all in the power and strength that only God can give you.

Determine to put your perspective on this truth:

Your infertility isn’t just a battle between one line or two on the pregnancy tests. It’s a battle between God and Satan. Satan wants your infertility to wreak havoc on your life while God desires to use your infertility to do something in your life that only He can do so that the world can see Him at work in your life.

Let God do His thing and stand back in amazement at how our God can bring good from bad.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

And really, good isn’t a good enough word to describe what God desires to do.

God will do something in and through your life that the English language cannot adequately describe.

The word that best describes what God has done through my infertility is a miracle.

Actually, make that two miracles.

Small Cardboard Box

I am doing some major reorganization in this house. Going through closets and getting rid of stuff, making room for office stuff to go in the hall closet and hall closet stuff to go in our master closet.

I found some organizational bins today at Wal Mart for $5, put Little Bug to bed tonight and went on an organizational frenzy.

I love going through closets, drawers, cabinets and getting rid of stuff!

Call me crazy, but I love to see stuff leaving my house by the bag load. I hate clutter and I hate things sitting in my house for decades that never get used.

Funny story: Tonight at dinner my parents received a call from Vietnam Veterans asking if they had anything for pick up on Thursday morning. As my dad was saying no, I hollered, “Let me talk to them! I have a bunch of stuff sitting in the garage waiting to go!”

He handed me the phone and the lady switched gears and set up a pick up at my house instead on Thursday morning!

I also hit up my bathroom cabinets under the sink. As Dave put all the stuff that I had put in the overflowing trash can into a trash bag I said with excitement, “Look at that huge bag of trash that was just sitting in our bathroom cabinets! And now it is outta here!”

He just looked at me like I had lost my mind.

As I was rearranging items in our closet to make room for two storage bins I wanted to place in there, I found a small cardboard box in the very corner of the top shelf.

I knew what was in there as soon as I saw it.

It was the left over meds from our IUI and IVF cycles.

I do keep some stuff.

I remember way back when, gathering all the left over meds, needles and syringes and packing them neatly in that small box just in case one day we wanted to venture back into the world of infertility treatments.

I had seen that little box sitting there multiple times over the past year and a half and I was never really ready to get rid of it.

Until tonight.

I pulled it down from the top shelf, walked into the bathroom, sat on the floor and opened the box. Dave walked into the bathroom about that time and sat down next to me. I asked him to help me take my name off the labels.

We sat there, ripping my name and address to shreds and reminisced about that season of our life.

As Dave pulled out an unused package of needles he asked me, “Do you think you could still give yourself shots?”

I told him, “Yes, I think I could.”

One thing (and there are a million things) infertility taught me is that I can do anything I put my mind to…when I find my strength in the Lord.

We finished going through the box and as Dave left with the huge bag of trash, I realized something else.

Getting rid of the contents of that box tonight really does solidify in my mind that I have completely worked through the emotions of never being pregnant and my heart, mind and soul have completely let go of any inkling of hope that I will one day achieve a pregnancy.

It’s all in the past now.

And that is where it will stay. My heart is completely content and thrilled to be throwing all that stuff away tonight.

Yes, I will always be infertile. It is a title I will take with me to the grave, however, my infertility does not define me today.

Oh no, there is much beauty that has come from the ashes of my infertility.

Satan meant for my infertility to steal my joy, to kill and to destroy my spirit. But I stand firm in the Lord tonight, declaring to the world that I am more alive and free than I have ever been in my entire life.

Infertility did not destroy me!

It beat me down, that is for sure.

But I chose to put my faith in the Lord during my darkest hour and I am here to tell you that God is faithful.

I named my blog, God’s Faithfulness Through Infertility because I knew (in my head) when I started walking the road of infertility that God’s faithfulness would pull me through.

Now, I know that in my heart.

To GOD be the glory! Great things He has done.

And is doing.

Thankfulness 2010

I can’t believe it is already November. This year has possibly gone by faster than any other year of my life. It does seen the older I get, the faster the years fly but this year beats all.

I did start this year out with a baby that lay in one spot on the floor and played with toys. And I am ending this year with a little girl who is daily saying more and more words and who never stays in one spot longer than five minutes.

Much has changed throughout this year. I have learned, as I have gotten older, that change really is the only constant in life.

While change and I usually aren’t the best of friends (because I like stability and predictability and change always has a way of swiping those out of the picture), I am extremely thankful for one change in my life – because it has literally changed my life forever.

I’m thankful for the endometriosis that has made me unable to conceive.

Because of my endometriosis my heart was opened to adoption. Without infertility, I highly doubt I would have given adoption the time of day and I would have missed out on one of the greatest miracles on earth.

Because of my endometriosis my heart has been filled with compassion for anyone going through what I went through. God has given me a platform to minister to people (mainly via my blog) in a way I would not have been able to before going through infertility myself.

Because of my endometriosis God taught me what Jeremiah 29:11 really means. Before infertility, I knew God had a plan for my life, but I didn’t know what that meant when God’s plan did not match mine. Jeremiah 29:11 means that, even when things don’t go according to the way I have planned them in my head, God’s way is always perfect and best. Still not being pregnant after 8 months of trying certainly wasn’t in my plan. Just like doing four IUI cycles and having them all fail and having surgery to remove endometriosis wasn’t in my plan. And being told IVF wouldn’t work for me either was the furthest thing from my mind. But God, in His Sovereignty, took all of that and wove it into the beautiful Miracle of Little Bug.

Because of my endometriosis I know how to get back up after a blow that knocks you to your knees and keep moving forward. With each failure, God taught me that I could not stay down for long because He was working His perfect plan in my life and He required me to keep going and to not throw in the towel of my faith or my trust in Him.

Because of my endometriosis I know I serve a faithful God. True to His word, His plans were better than anything I had imagined for myself. What could be better than Little Bug?

DSCN6446

God used endometriosis to bring me Little Bug.

I am forever thankful for endometriosis.

Failed CCT & a Window of Opportunity

I failed the Clomid Challenge Test.

Day 3 FSH: 7.8

Day 10 FSH: 13.3 (Should be <10)

Day 21 Progesterone: 19.7

I couldn’t help but start crying right there in the doctor’s office.

However, contrary to what I had read on the internet about failing a Clomid Challenge Test, I quickly learned that failing for me was not complete gloom and doom for one simple reason.

My age.

Dr. L told me that a Clomid Challenge Test is an indirect measure of my egg quality and age is a far more important factor.

So basically, finding all this out could not have come at a more perfect time.

I am 27.

The endometriosis is gone.

The events of the past almost 18 months have been woven together into a window of opportunity that only the Hand of God could do.

If we are going to have biological children, NOW is our window of opportunity, given these newfound circumstances.

I believe this window of opportunity is a gift from God.

God’s Timing is always perfect and way better planned out than we can plan things out.

At first, I couldn’t help but be mad and angry that it was me who had to have the endometriosis and consequentially, fail the CCT.

But looking at things from God’s perspective always gives you the brighter side.

God is still at work bringing this journey to completion for His glory alone.

I still wait in great expectation of what God is going to do next.

Please pray with Dave and me, especially in the next few days, as we pray for God’s guidance and peace towards choosing the next path and moving towards it.

Thank you for your prayers today!

Beginning to ponder next step…

I came across this verse this morning:

What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. Matthew 10:27

This verse serves as just one more reminder that all these truths that God is teaching me along the way while I am walking this dark road, I will one day be able to speak about as just one more testimony of God’s faithfulness towards me.

Bottom line is: One day darkness will be no more. God will shed His light on His Plan. From day one of this journey, I have known that it is just that – a journey. It will end. And I believe with all my heart that one day, victory will be won and on this road I will walk no more.

Somehow, someway, I believe with all my heart that God will one day bless us with children.

And then, the truths about God’s love and faithfulness that He has whispered in my ear along this journey, will be proclaimed for anyone listening to hear.

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I had the second blood draw today for this Clomid Challenge Test. As the new year approaches, it is time, once again, to be still and let God speak and direct us towards our next step.

Dave and I have briefly talked about another IUI cycle, but the discussion basically stopped when we both just were not ready to go through that again.

Three failures makes it kind of hard to head into a fourth with hope.

But then I think about the endometriosis being gone. It was so long ago that I talked with Dr. L, since we haven’t done anything fertility related since my surgery at the beginning of November, that what he told me about my chances of a successful IUI cycle post-surgery is in a fog somewhere in the back of my brain.

It seems he told me that since the endometriosis is gone, our success rates with IUI would greatly increase, as long as there isn’t an issue with the sperm being able to penetrate an egg.

If there is, then we are headed for two more failed IUIs at the cost of over 3,000 dollars and then back to square one of deciding what’s next! And to even start considering those options at this point would be silly.

It’s really all dependant on what Dr. L tells me on January 15th. He will go over my Clomid Challenge Test results and then he will lay out on the table the options best for us. I trust, like God has in the past, He will gently nudge us in the direction we are to take next.

Once decided, I will push forward, not looking back, rally my prayer warriors, feast on His Word and deal with things one day at a time. Those are my biggest coping mechanisms and how I survived the first three IUIs and how I will survive any future IUIs.

Post-op Appointment

Where do I begin?

First, we discussed the surgery. He told me the surgery was very successful in that all the endometriosis was excised (cut out), instead of burned. Dr. L and his partner are the only REs in J that excise endometriosis compared to just burning it. The benefit in excising verses burning is that when endometriosis is excised, the chances of it returning are very slim. Which brings me to our discussion of the next step towards pregnancy.

Dr. L told me that once a patient has had endometriosis, the concern after the endometriosis is surgically removed, shifts to egg quality. This is because endometriosis tends to decline a woman’s egg quality sooner in someone who has or had endometriosis. The average woman’s (with no endometriosis) egg quality typically begins to decline at the age of 32. Throw endometriosis into the mix and egg quality begins to decline in the late-20’s.

One of the best qualities in Dr. L is that he doesn’t just throw a treatment plan (such as IVF) on the table and tell us this is our only option. The patient’s best interest is his ultimate goal. So he will sit there with you to the point that you feel you are a team working together to figure out the best possible treatment plan that is unique to you. Being a former teacher, the push in education philosophy was always individualized instruction. I believe it is no different for an RE prescribing a treatment plan to his/her patient – it should be individualized to meet the infertility needs of that particular couple.

And that is precisely what Dr. L does.

So, what’s next?

I’m going to do a Clomid Challenge Test to check my FSH levels, which will tell the quality of my eggs. Dr. L told me this test isn’t a must-do and he expects my levels to be just fine. (Back in March, when Dr. L did my initial blood work, my FSH level was 4.5. Anything less than 10 is a normal range for a pre-menopausal woman.) I chose to do the test because I like to be completely informed and know as much as I can about what is going on within my body!

The Clomid Challenge Test requires me to take Clomid on Cycle Days 5-9. My FSH levels would be tested through blood work on Cycle Days 3 and 10. I am not sure which cycle I will do this test. I need to pray and see what God tells me.

I told Dr. L of our plans to do no treatments until the New Year because God just may want to allow it to happen naturally.

So the plan is to see what happens from now until the end of the year. If needed, we will probably do another IUI in January 2009, regardless of the results from the Clomid Challenge Test. Dr. L told me that even if my levels are above 10, that will not automatically mean our only option will be IVF.

Please keep praying another treatment will not be necessary … if it be God’s Will.

Our Next Step After Surgery

We headed into our final cycle of IUI in October 2008 knowing that if this cycle didn’t work we wanted to stop treatment until the New Year. We do not want to be going through treatments during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.

We still feel this way after successful laporoscopy surgery to remove Stage 2 endometriosis. I talked to Dr. L briefly after my surgery but was still in a groggy state. So I am very anxious to talk to him at my post-op appointment on November 17th. The message is clear, though, that Dr. L successfully removed all the endometriosis and now my chances of pregnancy are very good. Even in my groggy state, I understood that much.

The past week I’ve spent recovering from surgery, I’ve had a lot of time to sit and contemplate and pray about what God is telling us our next step is.

We both feel at peace about taking a break on IUI treatments for November and December and doing our next treatment in January 2009 – if that is even necessary.

As I reflect back on the past year, there is no doubt in my mind that, if God Wills, He can and will allow conception to happen naturally before the New Year. I can, and already have started praying that this will be the beautiful masterpiece I have long awaited to see. I invite you to pray with me.

But three tiny words say it all. If God Wills

And I can honestly say with more understanding than I have ever had in my entire life, because of the journey of this past year, that I desire more than anything, God’s Will.

Because in the past year, the greatest lesson God has taught me through this battle with infertility, is that God’s Plan is perfect, beautiful and always best.

5 days after surgery

5 days post-surgery makes a big difference!

The air pain is almost completely gone! Praise the Lord. That really was the worst in this whole ordeal. I’m moving a whole lot faster now but still need to take it easy as my insides are not completely healed.

I am so thankful to be here in the process of recovery!

I have an appointment with a nurse at Dr. L’s office for a “wound check” on Thursday.

Then, on November 17th, I will have a post-op appointment with Dr. L. I have about a thousand questions I want to ask him concerning endometriosis and the surgery. Plus, we will discuss where we will go next as far as treatments are concerned.

Dave and I have spent some time talking about where we feel God is leading us next. I will share more on that later …

Thank you again for all the prayers and support through this.

God is still at work, painting a beautiful masterpiece, that in time we will all see.

"Trusting God in infertility"

As Dr. L said after my surgery, the endometriosis was Stage 2 (out of 4, with 4 being the most severe). It was found along my ureter and all over the pelvis. It was on the right and left abdominal wall and behind the uterus. There were also 2 cysts found on a fallopian tube.

I am still in awe of the fact that IT IS ALL GONE!! I AM CLEAN!!

In a way, this reminds me of another cleansing I received at the age of eight years old.

I was always a good kid. Obedient. Helpful. Kind-hearted. But even at the age of 8, I knew something was missing in my life. Something wasn’t quite right.

God’s Word teaches us that “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23

Which means we all are separated from God through sin. Even if we consider ourselves a “good person”!

I knew my heart was dirty with sin and needed cleansing.

The only way my heart could be clean, and not separated from the love of Jesus Christ, was to surrender my life to Him and allow Him to use my life for His Glory.

Because you see, my God loves me with a kind of love that is indescribable in words. Romans 5:8 told me of this great love as I read: “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Christmas is right around the corner and it is a time to celebrate God’s Perfect Plan for mankind – for me, for you. Here I was, dirty with sin, but God had a plan.

He sent His Son, Jesus, in the form of a baby boy born in a stable in Bethlehem (Luke 2). Jesus lived a life here on earth for a time until it was time to die on a cross as payment for our sins. He died and was buried. But the story doesn’t end there.

After three days he rose from the dead and today HE IS ALIVE. How do I know? (Matthew 28)

Because He is my strength, my peace, my joy as I walk this road of infertility. I have felt His presence every step of the way. He has carried me through all the ups and downs. It is not only through this battle with infertility that I have seen Him working first-hand in my life. There is a theme of God’s faithfulness that strings throughout my whole entire life.

This blog is connected to Google Analytics – a tool that is used to track hits for a certain website. I am normally not in the habit of checking my Google Analytics account, but a few weeks ago I checked it out and was amazed at what I found.

As I was looking at data collected from my blog I saw that 76 people have typed “trusting God in infertility” and my blog has popped up on their screen.

And so for some time now, I have wanted to declare to anyone out there who is reading this blog that if you are searching for answers and wondering if you can trust God through infertility – or any trial in your life – the answer is YES!

There is a God. He is real. He loves you with an indescribable love. He has a plan and purpose for your life beyond anything you can think or imagine. He is just waiting for you to give your life to Him. He will make a difference in your walk with infertility. Suddenly, you WILL have hope – no matter what your circumstances may be.

I have no idea if any of those 76 people are still coming back to this blog to read. But I do know walking this road is sometimes very lonely.

I would love to “meet” you and hear your story! I would love to “meet” anyone who reads this blog!

At this point in my life, I am stuck here at the house as I recover from this surgery. So I have ample time to answer any questions you have concerning what I’ve shared. 🙂

Because you see, whether you’ve always been a “good girl/boy” or if you’ve done something you’re really ashamed of, God is there, knocking on the door of your heart, wanting to come into your life.

God is faithful and you can trust Him.

twosheldons@gmail.com

Irritated

Right now I should be at Ava and Ella’s 1st birthday party.

Instead I am still stuck here in this chair.

And I am beginning to get really irritated. Enough is enough.

I thought I’d surely be well enough to go to their party on Sunday … I mean that would be THREE days after surgery.

So much so that I got up, took my shower, got dressed and then … My body screamed, "What do you think you are doing?" And back to the chair I went in defeat.

I am better and ready to get on with life but apparently my body hasn’t received the message.

And apparently I am forgetting one minor detail … I’ve had endometriosis cut out from all over my abdomen and I’m just going to be sore … but, thank God, not for forever!

During surgery they pumped my abdomen full of air so they could see in there. TALK ABOUT PAIN. That has been the worst. Unless you’ve had your abdomen pumped with air for surgery, there is no way to describe how painful it is when all that air settles in your tissues and time is the only thing that will make it go away. OUCH!!!

I’m just not a very good sick person I guess. I see things I want to do and I physically can’t do it. That’s frustrating.

This is Day 3 after surgery … they said recovery takes anywhere from 3-5 days. Please pray the pain from the air and the soreness from the surgery will go away SOON!

Time to change my perspective about all this pain.

Why am I in pain?

Because only 3 days ago my abdomen was covered in endometriosis. The endometriosis is probably the cause of these 15 months of trying to conceive and failing every month – even with three IUI treatments.

But three days ago, Dr. L went into my abdomen through 4 tiny incisions and cut all of the endometriosis out. And he has said our chances for pregnancy are now very good!

Every time I think about those events, I am in awe. God is so good, so faithful to us.

Even in the midst of all the pain I can already say, "It was all worth it."

And I know it is only a matter of time before I don’t have to walk around like I am 98 years old.